What do you do with nearly a dozen HD DBS channels after your original cable owner cuts them loose? Simple. Re-market them as a continuing service for HD customers and call them a "suite" package that will, among other things, foster HD channel surfing. Rainbow Media, LLC is now actively pitching distributors on Voom HD, Chuck Dolan's defunct satellite service that was very publicly axed from Cablevision System's satellite premium offerings earlier this year in a well-documented family squabble.
Rainbow is now pushing Voom HD's suite of 10 channels to cable competitors, according to published reports. (Voom HD has been offered to EchoStar's Dish subs since soon after Voom was nixed off Cablevision.) Rainbow plans to expand the suite to perhaps 21 channels by spring of next year, the company reports.
Although Rainbow has not announced its pricing schedule, distributors reportedly will be required to take all of its channels (Rainbow, like others, prefers to refer to each of its HD channels as "networks," although they are not), without splitting up the entire HD suite. According to some reports, the company appears to be pursuing a strategy of trying to get Voom HD placed within basic HD packages, rather than as a separately priced tier for consumers. Yet at the same time, other articles report that Rainbow is marketing it as a unique and self-contained package, which appears to be the approach on Voom HD's Web site.
Rainbow is creating a couple thousand hours of original HD content and, for the most part, is not re-directing or up-converting existing programs. About two-thirds of its content is original, and the remaining third are motion pictures transferred to HD for the first time. Rainbow maintains a large HD post-production house in Manhattan.
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